Just as I was zipping my bags to pack up and go home, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe breaks the news here in Orlando tonight that Crawford is going to Boston for seven years and $142m.
Please save your Benedict Crawford comments because Crawford deserves all of the congratulations and support from this fan base for an amazing moment in the career of a fantastic player. He has represented the organization in the all-star game four times, brought home an all-star MVP, finally was given a gold glove award he should have received multiple times over, and has been a giant thorn in the side of every opponent for the past nine seasons. Now, he is our problem 18+ times a season rather than our pleasure as he travels to Boston to join the Red Sox to join the competition. If you want to show your appreciation for what he has done to help change the culture of this organization from a laughing stock to one of respect, you still have time to do so. I had projected earlier this week that he would get eight year at $152m for an AAV of of $19 but he got an AAV of $20.3m tonight with this deal.
Now, to get all melodramatic, this is easily the most painful day of a Rays fan since watching Chuck Lamar trade Bobby Abreu for Kevin Stocker. In one day, fans saw three players that were critical to the success the organization has had over the past three seasons either sign new deals elsewhere or be (potentially) traded away depending on which source you believe on the last one since the Rays have still not officially confirmed completion of the Bartlett deal. To add salt to the wound, fans now have to witness Crawford come back and play at least nine games in Tropicana Field and patrol the left field area he has ruled over from 2002 to 2009 with gold-glove caliber defense.
I am normally the most cheerful, optimistic, trust-the-process analyst regarding this team but I will freely admit that reading this news tonight left me with an empty pit in my stomach. I am happy for Pena and happy for Crawford for the monies that both received today because they have earned every penny and I will be eternally grateful for what both players did to help change the culture of this team and look forward to watching what the next wave of talent in the organization can do to build upon what the now former Rays did for the organization and the community as those players certainly have set the bar high with both their efforts both on and off the field.